The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. believes that bringing new skilled employees into the community helps build business and improve the overall economic health of the area, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC.

That philosophy has led the organization to take an active roll in promoting and financing the Career Builders Loan Repayment Program operated by the Bank of North Dakota. The program is being offered to people accepting new positions in what are considered high need and emerging occupations in North Dakota.

Corry Shevlin, JSDC business development manager, said the structure and regulations of the program were developed by the Bank of North Dakota.

"The main intent of the program is to keep young people in North Dakota," he said.

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The program provides up to $17,000 in student loan repayment over a three-year period to qualifying individuals.

To qualify, the person must graduate from a North Dakota school of higher education after Jan. 1, 2019, and accept a new position since that same date. The student would then be eligible for loan repayment funds of $5,666 per year for three years. The annual payment is evenly split between a grant from the Bank of North Dakota and a payment from the employer.

To make the program more advantageous to local businesses as a recruiting tool, the JSDC will reimburse businesses in Stutsman County for 25% of their share of the cost.

"Many companies are already doing things like this as part of the recruitment process," Ova said about student loan repayment programs being offered. "This just helps."

The JSDC Board of Directors approved $100,000 in initial funding to cover the reimbursement costs to local businesses. That will cover costs associated with about 45 people utilizing the program, Shevlin said.

"We could see an influx of applicants right after graduation this spring," he said.

The local program is a cooperative effort between the JSDC and the University of Jamestown which will verify the applicants have graduated from a North Dakota college or university. The JSDC will reimburse the businesses after they provide proof they have paid their share of the program costs.

The program will allow the JSDC and local businesses to leverage money from the Bank of North Dakota in an effort to attract new employees to the area.

"It is a community-wide program with some pretty significant partners," Ova said. "We really need to make employees and businesses aware of this opportunity."

This story is advertorial content that appeared in the 2020 Progress Edition of The Jamestown Sun.